Do Institutional Investors Aleviate Agency Costs in R&D Investment Decisions?

Ricky William Scott


This study tests whether institutional investors encourage R&D investment in firms with potential agency problems. Firm and year fixed effect regressions and difference-GMM regressions are used to examine the effect of changes in institutional investor levels to subsequent changes in R&D investment levels. Increased institutional ownership leads to increased R&D investment and this relationship is stronger in firms more susceptible to agency problems. Agency-based free cash flow theory predicts that institutional investors will encourage R&D investment in firms with good investment opportunities, but they will not encourage R&D investment simply because a firm has higher free cash flow. My results support this prediction indicating that institutional investors help to control agency problems in R&D investment decisions. The results in this paper indicate that this may lead to a decrease in agency costs in R&D decisions, thus benefiting institutional and non-institutional shareholders.

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Accounting and Finance Research
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